This pineapple dream dessert is one of my family’s favorites. You know those desserts that seem to be at all the family gatherings? Those recipes that your grandma has been making for years? Like Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Ambrosia and Watergate Salad. This is one of those desserts.
This light and fluffy pineapple cream cheese dessert can be easily transported, hence it appearing at all those family functions, and rarely has leftovers.
PSSST – Yes! You are in the right place! Our photos have been updated, but the recipe is the same. This photo look familiar??
I’ve had similar reactions to this Chocolate Lasagna recipe, everyone seems to love it. So the only thing you’ll take home is a dish that needs washing!
Frequently Asked Questions
Back in the late 60’s Cool Whip entered the marketplace. It only took two years for this convenience item to become the company’s best-selling item. Cool Whip has come under fire many times and the current version now contains milk and cream.
If you prefer, you can substitute freshly made whipped cream for the Cool Whip in this recipe. To substitute fresh whipping cream for the 8-ounce tub of Cool Whip, 1 cup of fresh whipping cream whipped is the proper substitution.
HOWEVER Cool Whip has stabilizers in it that help hold its shape while fresh whipping cream does not. There you can try this recipe for homemade stabilized whipped cream to replace the Cool Whip.
If you love the idea of this pineapple dream dessert, you’ll love the strawberry version too- Strawberry Dream Dessert. You’re basically replacing the pineapples for strawberries and you have yourself another ultra-delicious one-pan dessert!
Just like this Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad, this is a great recipe for taking to a party, holiday gathering, or a potluck. It’s best to have a place to keep this delicious pineapple whipped cream dessert refrigerated until ready to serve.
You can purchase graham cracker crumbs, or smash them in a sealed bag with a rolling pin. We like to run them through our food processor!
Ingredients you will need:
Get all measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable version at the end of this post.
- 2 1/2 cups graham crumbs (2 sleeves)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (for crust)
- 2 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (for filling)
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz container Cool Whip
- 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained well
NO BAKE VERSION: If it’s too hot to turn on the oven, you can make the crust without baking it. Simply follow the instructions in the recipe, then instead of baking the crust, place it in the refrigerator. Let the crust chill for about 20 minutes. The butter will solidify and hold the crust together. The crust may not hold together as well, especially after sitting out for a while. But it still tastes just as good!
How to Make Pineapple Dream
These step by step photos and instructions are here to help you visualize how to make this recipe. You can Jump to Recipe to get the printable version of this recipe, complete with measurements and instructions at the bottom.
- Preheat the oven to 300 F. Melt 1/2 cup butter in the microwave and let it cool. Combine the crumbs and butter, then press 2 cups of the crumb mixture firmly into a 9×9 square pan and bake for 8-10 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool.
- Beat the cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter together until creamy. Turn the mixer down to low and add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until incorporated. Turn up and beat well for a minute or so.
- Add a heaping tablespoon of the drained crushed pineapple and stir in with a rubber spatula.
- Spread the cream cheese and pineapple mixture over the crust.
- Fold the remaining pineapple into the Cool Whip and spread on top of the cream cheese mixture.
- Sprinkle the remaining graham cracker crumb mixture on top.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Does your family have a version of this dessert?
How do you make it and what do you call it? These are some of the names I’ve heard:
- Pineapple Cool Whip Dessert
- Pineapple Delight
- Pineapple Dream Squares
- Pineapple Surprise Dessert
- Pineapple Graham Cracker Dessert
- Pineapple Cream Dessert
Whatever you call it, it’s amazing and there are never any leftovers. It’s always a favorite and someone will inevitably ask you for the recipe! So be sure to print a couple extra copies. :)
More one-pan potluck dessert ideas
- If you liked this Pineapple Dream Dessert, you’ll probably like my Cream Puff Chocolate Eclair Cake too. It’s another one of those potluck recipes that everyone wants a slice of! Not only is it creamy and delicious, it’s pretty too. So next time you’re heading to a friend or relatives and need to bring a dessert, try this eclair cake!
- Not everyone approves of the name of this next recipe, so over the years, it has taken on a few different titles. Here it’s called Sex in a Pan, but you may also know it as Chocolate Dream, Robert Redford Dessert or Better Than Anything Dessert. All I know is that three layers including cream cheese, pudding and whipping cream make for a party in your mouth!
- Speaking of potluck favorites, this Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad is always a big hit! There are some families that absolutely insist it is served at every holiday.
- If you are a banana lover have I got a dessert for you! Make this delicious banana pudding poke cake and I promise you will not be disappointed.
- Though it’s not necessarily a “one-pan” dessert, it’s definitely a potluck favorite! This Ambrosia Salad is a vintage classic. Combining maraschino cherries, mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, fruit cocktail and marshmallows this ambrosia salad recipe is one to be reckoned with.
- Try this fabulous looking Lemon Delight from Happy Hooligans, the kids can help make Chessmen Banana Pudding from Kids Activities Blog, and who could resist Chocolate Banana Twinkie Cake from Today’s Creative Life?
- This just added – Pineapple Yogurt Dessert – thank you to Cathy for sharing it with us.
- This irresistible no-bake Eclair Cake is the dessert of your dreams. Your guests will be asking for seconds and thirds!
- This Orange Pineapple Cake is stuffed with sweet mandarin oranges and topped with a fruity pineapple frosting that’s hard to resist.
Watch our quick video showing the simple process of this delicious dessert!
Pineapple Dream Dessert
IMPORTANT – There are often Frequently Asked Questions within the blog post that you may find helpful. Simply scroll back up to read them!Print It Pin It Rate It Text It
- 2 1/2 cups graham crumbs 2 sleeves
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 8 oz Cool Whip fat-free
- 20 oz crushed pineapple drained well
- Preheat oven to 300 F.
- Melt butter in the microwave and allow to cool. Combine the crumbs and butter and toss together until incorporated. Press 2 cups of the crumb mixture firmly into an 9×9 square pan and bake for 8-10 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy. Turn the mixer down to low and add the powdered sugar one cup at a time until incorporated. Turn up and beat well for a minute or so. Add a heaping tablespoon of the drained pineapple and stir in with a rubber spatula. Spread the cream cheese and pineapple mixture over the crust.
- Fold the remaining pineapple into the Cool Whip and spread on top of the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle the remaining graham cracker crumb mixture on top. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Expert Tips & FAQs
This recipe was originally published here on July 9, 2013.
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To say that there is too much sugar and butter in this recipe is an understatement. Truly, those are the only 2 flavors that come through; the cream cheese and pineapple are barely noticeable. I felt sick after taking just one bite and ended up having to throw the entire cake away. This recipe does not work at all as written.
Muriel Moore says
This reminds me of a recipe from the sixties when I was a young mother. Every summer we’d have a neighborhood picnic and I was always asked to make something we called “fluff”. It used evaporated milk that was very cold but not frozen then whipped with dry jell-o. I usually chose wild strawberry with fresh sugared strawberries added later. There must have been more to the recipe but I cannot find my written copy anywhere. If this leads to finding the recipe I would be so very happy and grateful. For instance one person reminded me that the jello mixture was prepared with hot water and ice to chill it. Whether it was one or two packets of jello neither of us could remember. I’m thinking since I made it in a 9” x 13” dish it probably was two packets. Does this ring a bell for anyone?
thank you i will try tomorrow
Julia Duits says
I changed this recipe, these were my changes.
I only used 8oz /250 grams of cream cheese and 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
I am a diabetic so lowering the sugar content in recipes is a must for me.
This tastes great !
This is fabulous! This is the exact replica of a favorite dessert my brother and I loved when we were children. There was a restaurant named Breton’s in our shopping mall that our parents always took us to. We never knew what it was called, but it was a memorable childhood experience that we shared. (1965 – can you believe!) Thanks for bringing it back!
This was delicious and easily made. It will definitely be a summertime favorite.
Bonnie Moss says
I found the cream cheese mixture way too sweet, it was like eating cream cheese icing. If I were to make this again, I would double the cream cheese and butter, half the powdered sugar and add a tsp. of lemon juice.
OMG THIS IS DELICIOUS!!!!!!!! JUST FOLLOW THE RECIPE DON’T CHANGE A THING
Sylvia H. says
This dessert has the potential but this recipe is not it. It would serve has a good pie to the face kind of pie. I made it per instructions even though I wanted to tweak it. It’s way to sweet, not enough pineapple taste, not enough cream cheese, to much butter.
Jennifer M says
Pretty good but the middle cream cheese layer is a little too sweet for my tastes. It reminds me more of cream cheese icing than a cheesecake filling. If I make this again, I will probably cut the powdered sugar in half and put more cream cheese in. I will probably use salted butter as well to offset the sweetness a bit.
Carla Lively says
Would a whole 8oz of cream cheese be too much?
Amanda Formaro says
Yes for a square pan. You can double everything in the recipe and make it in a 13×9 though.
Marla Reynolds says
SOUNDS GOOD. I MIGHT ADD COCONUT WITH THE CREAM CHEESE AND PINEAPPLE. YUM.
Irma Louisa says
This was such a hit at our home. Love ❤️ it and will definitely make again. It’s a keeper! Btw…I stuck to the recipe, it was so easy and delicious.
Kally knight says
Can you use premade graham crust?
Carrie Arlene says
This was really easy and good. It’s nice because it’s light and not too sweet. I used a whole bar of cream cheese.
My mom used to make this for us when we were kids. Yum!
To help stabilize whip cream, I’ll add a spoonful of marshmallow fluff or a couple of cooled melted marshmallows. It’ll help hold the dessert for a couple of days :)
I am wondering if I could substitute real whipped cream for the cool whip? If so is it a straight substitution or do i have to make any other changes.
Amanda Formaro says
Yes you can use homemade whipped cream
To help stabilize whip cream, add a spoonful of marshmallow fluff or a couple of cooled melted marshmallows. It’ll help hold the dessert for a couple of days :)
Powdered milk (a tablespoon or two) also works to stabilize whipped cream!
Anne Dial says
Thank you, always a Favourite for any holiday
Angela Pesce says
You mention to add butter to cream cheese mixture
Does not all the butter go into the crust. How does butter fit into cream cheese mixture
You also said a 9×9 square pan. Did you mean 8×8. I’m a bit confused
Amanda Formaro says
Hi there. If you look at the ingredient list, you will see butter is listed for the crust as well as separately for the filling. And as for the pan, we use a 9×9 square pan. Not an 8×8.
Could you use coconut and pineapple? I absolutely love those two together!
Amanda Formaro says
I’m sure you could!